Sunday, 4 February 2018

Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra

Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, one of a handful of sisterhoods of highly trained elite warriors. Armed with blades whose metal is imbued with magic and guided by a strict code of conduct, the Orders are sworn to keep the peace and protect the people of Asiana. Kyra has pledged to do so—yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her murdered family.
When Tamsyn, the powerful and dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. She is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof.

Kyra escapes through one of the strange Transport Hubs that are the remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past and finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of a desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a disillusioned Marksman whose skill with a blade is unmatched. He understands the desperation of Kyra’s quest to prove Tamsyn’s guilt, and as the two grow closer, training daily on the windswept dunes of Khur, both begin to question their commitment to their Orders. But what they don’t yet realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is thin . . . as thin as the blade of a knife.

Markswoman is the first book in a planned duology and I absolutely loved it. It takes place in Asiana many centuries after the Great War. There are several orders which protect the land from crime and outlaws, and Kyra the mc is part of the Order of Kali.

The book is mostly told from Kyra's point of view, but it does occasionally flip to Rustan -the love interest's- point of view. I liked this as I always find it interesting getting a glimpse inside the love interest's head. Kyra is 19 and Rustan is 21, I think, which is quite unusual for YA. It does, however, give it a cross-over appeal.  The world building in Markswoman was well done, there was enough of it for you to get a general picture of what it's like, but it also leaves you with a desire to learn more - especially about the past, which i'm hoping will be explored in the sequel. 

Kyra and Rustan were both complex and likable characters, and I found myself easily rooting for them. I liked that Kyra didn't excel at everything, and that she struggled as it made her more relatable. I also enjoyed Kyra's friendship with Ninthe and Elena, and after a certain scene involving one of them am intrigued to see what role they will play in the sequel. 

Something I found refreshing was the role of woman and men - in this world it's woman who are in power. All the Orders except one is made up of woman, Rustan is part of that Order - the Order of Khur.

"Mere men, sitting here as if they are our equals."

"Men wielding kataris, it's a disgrace." 

The only thing I disliked about Markswoman was how rushed the romance was. As I mentioned I adored both Kyra and Rustan, and I was fully ready to start shipping them. The problem was, however, that there was no build up or tension between them. They meet 40% into the book and know each other for about a month, and suddenly they're in love after only having one real conversation (at about 63%) that wasn't about training. It just wasn't believable. 

Overall, a great read and I can't wait for the conclusion! 


Sunday, 24 December 2017

Favourite books of 2017

It's that time of year again, here's a look at the books that made it into my faves list. πŸ™Œ Not as many as previous years, but here's hoping there will be more next year!

Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray
This book reminds me of Dan Wells' Partials trilogy in that it features a complex female mc and a male robot with the ability to feel. I loved the world, characters, and spark of romance.
“Please stop sniffing the robot boy, Noemi tells herself, jerking out of the trance.”

Windwitch (The Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard
This book gave me all the Aeduan/Iseult shippy feels. I can't wait for the next book, Bloodwitch, because it's Aeduan's book apparently. 😍
  “Mhe varujta. Trust me as if my soul were yours.”

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
I know a lot people find Fanny to be a frustrating mc, but I actually adored her. It was Edmund who I wanted to shake some sense into.
“I was quiet, but I was not blind.” 

Last Breath and Cold Blood (Detective Erika Foster #4 & #5) by Robert Bryndza
This series is so addictive and good! Highly recommend it if you're in the mood for an adult mystery.

This is going to be my last post of 2017, so I'd like to take this opportunity to say Happy Holidays & Happy New Year! 😊

Saturday, 2 December 2017

2018 book releases I'm looking forward to (Part 2)

Hey, guys! Here's part two of my list of 2018 books I'm looking forward to, you can find part one here.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand | Publication date: 22/05/18
When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable--until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world--and of each other.   
 Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway | Publication date: 08/05/18
Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.   
 These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch | Publication date: 07/08/18
Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.

Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.

As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.   
Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff | Publication date: 29/05/18
On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.  
 Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian | Publication date: 24/04/18
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed “Ash Princess.” Pretending to be empty-headed and naive when she's not enduring brutal whippings, she pushes down all other thoughts but one: Keep the Kaiser happy and he will keep you safe.

When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can't keep her feelings and memories pushed down any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser's warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn't expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. Or for her rebel allies to challenge her friendship with the one person who's been kind to her throughout the last hopeless decade: her heart's sister, Cress.

Cornered into impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she's willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she's willing to sacrifice to become queen.
 Are you looking forward to any of these? 😊

Monday, 6 November 2017

Mini review: Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jesicca Leake

Summary: The ancient land of Γ‰irinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Γ‰irinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.

The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Γ‰irinn, but the entire world.

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world.

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.

- Add to GoodReads
Publication date: 10/04/18

Beyond a Darkened Shore completely took me by surprise, I wasn't expecting to like a story about giants as much as I did. Eirinn is a land made up of kingdoms who are constantly having to protect their home from pillaging Northmen. Ciara, the mc, lives in Mide and because of her supernatural abilities she has been able to keep her people safe. That all changes, however, when she starts seeing a ominous crow who shows her dark visions. Then when Northmen arrive on Mide's shore, she discovers that their leader, Leif, could be the key to helping her save Eirinn from the evil that threatens to destroy those she loves dearly.

I liked both Ciara and Leif, they were interesting and well rounded characters who I found myself easily rooting for. I could relate to the strong bond they had with their siblings, and their sense of loyalty was admirable. Although from different backgrounds the slow build up of trust, friendship, and then something more was well executed. Plus, the romance featured one of my favourite tropes: enemies to lovers!

Warning for those not into gory violence, personally I'm not a fan, but I enjoyed the characters and their story so much I didn't really care. Overall, it was a great stand-alone!


Friday, 29 September 2017

Mini review: Everless by Sara Holland

Summary: In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

- Add to GoodReads
Publication date: 02/01/18 

Everless, to put it simply, was an enjoyable read.

For me, 2017, has been a slow reading year. I've DNF'd quite a few books, which sucks. Everless piqued my interest when I read the summary, but after all the DNFing I've been doing I kept my expectations low. 

Everless is exactly what I needed, it wasn't amazing, but it was fun and held my attention through out. The world build was interesting and although the mc was a little naive, frustratingly so at times, she was nevertheless likable. Her kindness and determination was admirable. 

The twists and turns kept me turning the pages, I wanted to see where the story would go and puzzle out the mc's past along with her.

Overall, it was a good read and I'm very intrigued to see where the story goes in the sequel.  


Sunday, 20 August 2017

2018 book releases I'm looking forward to (Part 1)

I know there's still about 4 months left of the year, but I can't help but feel excited about these 2018 releases. I've decided to split this post into two parts, part one will feature sequels. πŸ™Œ

Defy the Worlds (Constellation #2) by Claudia Gray | Publication date: 03/04/18
Noemi Vidal has returned to her planet, Genesis, as an outsider. Ostracized for refusing to sacrifice Abel, the galaxy's most advanced mechanical man, she dreams of traveling through the stars one more time. And when a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi gets her chance. As the only soldier to have ever left the planet, it will be up to her to save its people...if only she wasn't flying right into a trap.
Abel, now fully aware of his soul and captaining his own ship, never thought he'd get to see Noemi again, not when the entire universe stands between them. But when his creator, Burton Mansfield, delivers news of Noemi's capture, Abel must go to her, no matter the cost.
In a race against time, Abel and Noemi band together to stop Mansfield once and for all. The depraved scientist has engineered a way to achieve immortality, but that technology comes with perils of its own. Abel and Noemi are about to discover a secret that could save Genesis and Earth...or destroy them all. 

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff  | Publication date: 13/03/18
Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. 
A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3) by Sabaa Tahir  | Publication date: 24/04/18
Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion—even at the cost of his humanity.
Stormcaster by Cinda Williams Chima (Shattered Realms #3) | Publication date:  03/04/18
The empress in the east—the unspeakably cruel ruler whose power grew in Flamecaster and Shadowcaster—tightens her grip in this chilling third installment in the series.

Vagabond seafarer Evan Strangward can move the ocean and the wind, but his magical abilities seem paltry in comparison to Empress Celestine’s. As Celestine’s bloodsworn armies grow, Evan travels to the Fells to warn the queendom of her imminent invasion. If he can’t convince the Gray Wolf queen to take a stand, he knows that the Seven Realms will fall. Among the dead will be the one person Evan can’t stand to lose.

Meanwhile, the queen’s formidable daughter, Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa, is already a prisoner aboard the empress’s ship. Lyss may be the last remaining hope of bringing down the empress from within her own tightly controlled territory.
What 2018 releases are you looking forward to? πŸ“š

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Childhood favourites

Jacqueline Wilson
My library had a big collection of Wilson's books, and I made my way through a good chunk of them. Her books just made me happy. 😊

Anthony Horowitz
I read almost all of his books, but my faves were the Alex Rider and Power of Five series.

Meg Cabot
I've read some of Cabot's books multiple times, she was and still remains one of my favourite authors. πŸ’•

Louise Rennison
Rennison's Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series honestly made me laugh. They are a brilliant mix of humour, romance, and teenage shenanigans.

J.K. Rowling
I've read the Harry Potter series two more times since I first read it when I was young, and I'm sure I'll be reading it again at some point. πŸ™Œ

Roald Dahl
I remember my teachers in primary school reading Dahl's books to us before the end of the day. The were so imaginative and fun.

Who are your favourite childhood authors?
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